Santana, Nathan moving to top of Twins' to-do list

Officials said that, once arbitration matters are wrapped, they want to get contractextensions in place for the pair.

The Dome has been packed this weekend for TwinsFest. Single-game ticket sales are more than brisk. Season-ticket sales might top 10,000. The 2007 season attendance might reach 2.4 million.

Oh, and there's the new ballpark scheduled to open in 2010.

It all allows the Twins to think big this year. Ace Johan Santana big. Closer Joe Nathan big.

Twins officials confirmed Saturday that, after the club signs its six arbitration-eligible players, it will approach Santana and Nathan about contract extensions to ensure they are in Twins uniforms when the new park opens.

"We have a lot of things going as far as the arbitration-eligibles, as most clubs do," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "You kind of let the calendar dictate our procedure. I'd like to take care of first things first, then see where things take us.

"If you want to do something, you approach the people you are responsible to and see if there's anything to be talked about."

Ryan acknowledged that he had preliminary talks with agents for both players during the winter meetings. Right now, Ryan is trying to figure out how much it will cost to pay his six arbitration-eligible players -- Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Punto, Juan Rincon and Lew Ford.

Arbitration hearings begin Thursday and run through Feb. 20 in Arizona. After that, the Twins likely will sit down with agents for Santana and Nathan (Nathan's likely will be first) and start talks that could go into the regular season.

The pitchers like the idea of starting and closing in the new park.

"I know I have two more years here," Santana said. "I'm willing to work something out to stay with this team and in this city, wearing this uniform because I love this team."This is a great organization," Nathan said. "This a great city. My family loves it here. We are comfortable here. So we'd love to talk about it and see where we are at and see if we are on the same page with Terry."

The spike in the free-agent market is playing a role here. Santana will make $12 million this year and $13.25 million in 2008 before he's a free agent. But lefthander Barry Zito signed with San Francisco for an average of $18 million a season -- and Zito, age 30, hasn't won two Cy Young Awards over the past three seasons, which Santana, 27, has.

"I'm in no hurry," Santana said. "At the same time, I think the sooner the better -- and the cheaper it will be."

Nathan, with 123 saves over the past three seasons, will make $5.25 million this season and the Twins hold a $6 million option for 2008. Already a bargain, Nathan will be out-earned this season by relievers the likes of righthander Danys Baez, who signed a three-year, $19 million deal with Baltimore just for a setup role.

As for negotiations with the six arbitration-eligible players, the big three of Mauer, Cuddyer and Morneau all said talks are ongoing, but they didn't indicate that any deals were close.

"At least I know I'll be here this year," Mauer said.

"The way I look at it is that I'm getting a raise," said Cuddyer, who made $1.3 million last season and is asking for $4.25 million this year; the Twins have offered $3 million.

Morneau's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Feb. 9, Mauer's Feb. 13 and Cuddyer's Feb. 15.

The Twins' skills at the negotiating table will be as important as their on-field play this year as they try to lock up a competitive team. Twins President Dave St. Peter, who was encouraged by ticket sales this weekend, said the club would be unable to even dream about holding contract talks of this magnitude without a new ballpark on the horizon.

  • TWINSFEST 2007

    Today: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Where: Metrodome

    Tickets: $10 adults, $5 for 14 and younger

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Final123456789RHE
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Minnesota «03011010X6121
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:K.Gibson(13-11) L:A.Chafin(0-1)
HR: ARI- None MIN- None

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NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: T. Roark 4
Baltimore - WP: U. Jimenez 5 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy 4
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 7 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar 1
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 10
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 3 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 4
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 2
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 6 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 1 FINAL
Texas - WP: N. Martinez 2
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: Z. Rosscup 4
Arizona - LP: A. Chafin 3 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 6
LA Angels 2 Top 9th Inning
Oakland 0
San Francisco 2 Top 9th Inning
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 3 Bottom 8th Inning
San Diego 2
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Columbus 2
Boston 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Nashville 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Toronto 4
Detroit 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
San Jose 2 FINAL
Vancouver 4
Arizona 4 FINAL
Anaheim 0
Vancouver 0 3rd Prd 20:00
San Jose 3
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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